First USAF Service Member Dies of COVID-19

A member of the Texas Air National Guard died of COVID-19-related issues, the first uniformed member of the Department of the Air Force and the ninth service member overall to die of the disease.

The Air National Guardsman has not been identified. The death was reported in a Defense Department tally of COVID-19 cases on Nov. 4. The Air National Guard reports its COVID-19 cases through the National Guard Bureau, instead of in the Air Force’s own reports.

As of Nov. 5, there have been a total of 58,968 cases of COVID-19 reported among service members. The Air Force has reported 15,744 cases, which include Active Duty Air Force, Space Force, and Air Force Reserve Command personnel, along with civilians, dependents, and contractors.

In the Air Force, 14 civilians, two dependents, and seven contractors have died from COVID-19. There are currently 32 USAF personnel hospitalized with the new coronavirus, according to statistics released Nov. 3.

The Air Force has taken new measures to try to limit the spread of the virus, including testing service members who travel on “Patriot Express” flights from two airports. Patriot Express routes are flown by commercial jets that contract with the Defense Department to ferry military members and their families overseas. As of Nov. 2, travel restrictions remain at nine USAF installations across the globe.